Need a Boost of Motivation? Top 10 Movies About Running

Need a boost of motivation to run? Want to get pumped up before a race? Or maybe you need a reminder of what’s possible. Kick off your running shoes. Grab a cold drink to hydrate. And check out these top 10 movies about running.

Chances are pretty good you’re busy. You might even be used to the go-go-go of work, family, and everything else + fitting in your runs and workouts. And you rarely press pause to take a break.

Sound familiar? 

As much as you love to lace up your running shoes and tick off the miles, sometimes it makes sense to kick back and relax. And there’s a great way to do it…

Watch movies about running…

So there’s obviously more than 10 movies about running out there.

There’s a lot. Like movies about running that cover the iconic 26.2-mile marathon, Olympic and professional athletes, historical accounts of running achievements, the rise of ultramarathon running, and everything else.

Which movies about running are the best? Let’s be honest. We’re not trained cinematic experts or credentialed producers, or expert movie reviewers. But we do like running and the epic journey every runner discovers when they run their own race.

Need a boost of motivation for your next run, race or adventure? Check out these top 10 movies about running. 

Chariots of Fire

Can you win a race by just being the runner who works the hardest? Or does every runner step up to the starting line with their own way of chasing finish lines. In this iconic running movie, you’ll meet Great Britain’s team of runners competing in the 1924 Olympics. You’ll discover what happens when you run for glory instead of medals and T-shirts.

Released: 1981
Rated: PG
Length: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Without Limits

“How should I run this race?” It’s a question University of Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine must have asked legendary Coach Bill Bowerman. But Bowerman knew early on, Prefontaine had his own style of racing...pedal to the metal, all or nothing...everything in the tank all the way to the end. In Prefontaine, you’ll peek into the lives of Bowerman and Prefontaine, watch him push boundaries, break records, and run with more guts than anyone had ever seen.

Released: 1998
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Brittany Runs a Marathon

What would you do if your life was falling apart on all sides (money, relationships, health, and  happiness)? That’s where 27--year-old Brittany Forgleris finds herself. And it isn’t pretty. She decides to dig herself out of the funk by training to run the New York City Marathon. But the path to the starting line has lots of twists and turns, ups and downs, and a gut-wrenching twist that will make you yell at the screen, “Noooo!” 

Released: 2019

Rated: R
Length: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Forrest Gump

FYI...you don’t have to be the strongest, fastest, or smartest runner to go the distance. But if you wake up every day with the intention to live your best life, you might be surprised by how far you can go. It’s a lesson you’ll learn from Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks). And who knows, you might even lace up your running shoes, step out the door, and run forever after watching this.

Released: 1994

Rated: PG-13
Length: 2 hours, 22 minutes

Spirit of the Marathon

What’s it like to run a marathon? If you’re new to distance running, 26.2-miles might seem like an almost-impossible goal and finishing would be a major achievement. If you’re an experienced marathoner, maybe you wonder how to shave minutes or even seconds off your time. You’ll meet a mix of runners in Spirit of the Marathon and follow them through the ups and downs of training all the way to the finish line. And if you like this, check out Spirit of the Marathon II.

Released: 2007

Rated: PG
Length: 1 hour, 44 minutes

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

Long before ultrarunning was a popular sport, Tennessee native Lazarus Lake was crushing endless miles. He knows every person is capable of the seemingly-impossible. And it’s one reason he dreamed up The Barkely Marathon, a 100-plus-mile race that requires ultra endurance, navigation skills, a willingness to suffer, and even some mind-bending tasks for runners who are tired and fatigued. The Barkley Marathon is so hard, sometimes no one even finishes the race.

Released: 2014

Rated: Not Rated
Length: 1 hour, 29 minutes

McFarland USA 

What would you do if the cards were stacked against you? Give up, drop out, and go home? Or lace up your running shoes, and give it everything you’ve got? In McFarland, Coach Jim White (played by Kevin Costner), lands in a poor California town and discovers untapped potential in a group of cross country runners. Will they listen to this outsider? Can these runners really go from last place to first? If you need a feel-good reminder of what’s possible, watch this movie.

Released: 2015

Rated: PG
Length: 2 hours, 9 minutes

Running on the Sun

Where’s the hottest place on earth? Death Valley, Calif. The highest temperature ever recorded hit 134 degrees F, earlier this year. So it makes perfect sense to host an ultramarathon in Death Valley...in July.

In Running on the Sun, you’ll follow a group of runners training for Badwater 135, also known as the hottest race on earth. It’s hot enough to melt running shoes, and it’s hot enough to take out even the most experienced runners. Find out who makes the climb from 282 feet below sea level to the trailhead to Mt. Whitney’s 8,360 above sea level.

Released: 2000

Rated: Not Rated
Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes

There is No Finish Line 

Break all the rules. Break all the records. It’s kind of how Joan Benoit Samuelson opened the door to inspire millions of runners to take on the 26.2-mile marathon. She proved it’s possible, bringing home the first U.S. gold medal in the Olympics for winning the marathon. And you watch this, you’ll see just how driven she is...even years later.

Released: 2011

Rated: Not Rated
Length: 48 minutes

Kipchoge: The Last Milestone 

For years, the 26.2-mile marathon world record stood the test of time...until Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge decided it was finally his time to shine. Can a human run 26.2-miles in under two hours? In Kipchoge, you’ll follow him on this journey, filled with struggle, self-doubt, and incredible discipline and heart to see if he can achieve the “impossible.”

Released: 2021

Rated: PG-13
Length: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Watch movies about running to help you keep going

Think like a runner. Improve your training habits. Change your mindset. Be reminded that you can do the distance. Those are lessons you’re bound to learn from these 10 movies about running. But there’s many others.

What are your favorite movies about running?

Tell us in the comments. 

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